Posted by: christinelaennec | March 25, 2015

Knitting: easy and challenging

Like a lot of knitting addicts, I often have more than one project on the go.  Recently I had the greatest pleasure in knitting two projects concurrently:  one easy, one challenging.

The easy project was a garter-stitch scarf made of two skeins of Colinette Point 5 wool.  I’d bought it on a trip to the Wool Shed in Oyne with Roobeedoo last year.  I loved the colours, and thought the thick-thin texture would be fun.

Colinette Point 5 wool.

Colinette Point 5 wool.  Colinette is Welsh wool.

It was SUCH a pleasure to knit with!  I actually knit it twice – the first time I was aiming to make a buttoned cowl, but it wasn’t right.  So I undid it and reknit it into a scarf.  I loved every stitch, both times:

scarf made from Colinette wool, 15 stitches wide on size 11 needles.

Scarf made from Colinette wool, 15 stitches wide on 7mm needles.  Tilly helping model.

Not only was it wonderful to watch the colours and thick-thin texture glide through my hands, but it has been a warm and beautiful scarf to wear.  There was a frost on the ground this morning, so I may get a few more weeks to wear it yet.

My challenging project was the most complicated thing I have ever knit!  I have a friend who turns 80 this spring.  I wanted to knit her something – she’s a knitter herself – but I didn’t want to make anything with the faintest suggestion of invalidity.  No bed jackets, slippers, or lap rugs.  I hope she remains as active as she is now for a long time.

At the Glasgow School of Yarn, which I visited very briefly last October, I met the designer Lucy Hague, who designs with an astonishing “vocabulary” of Celtic cables.  There is a photo of her in her stall at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival here.  I bought her pattern Taliesin, and made the smaller size using Shetland wool.  I am very pleased with the result, and I hope the recipient will be too:

Taliesin shawl by Lucy Hague.

Taliesin shawl by Lucy Hague.

The wool is beautifully heathered:

Taliesin, made of Shetland wool (Jamieson's

Taliesin, made of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift (colour: 722, Mirage).

I think, in terms of the knitting (as opposed to construction), this is the most complicated project I have ever done.  I ended up working from the written-out instructions, and when I got to the final third of the pattern (the edging), I had to highlight the different sections just to keep them straight:

Taliesin pattern (part of).

Taliesin pattern (part of).

I learned a lot of new cabling techniques!  Cables carried horizontally, cables made with wrapping the stitch twice so it will stretch, cables done on the wrong side, masses of “tbl” (through back of loop) stitches.  It was utterly absorbing and I loved watching the design emerge!

But it’s not the kind of knitting you can do on the train – hence the wonderfully relaxing Colinette scarf.  For those on Ravelry, details are on my project page.

WordPress tells me that I started my blog five years ago today!  Fancy that.  So much has changed, and yet some things, like the joy of knitting and frosty spring mornings, haven’t!  Tilly begged to be let outside this morning, so I put her collar on and opened the back door.  But when she sensed the cold, she decided just to watch from inside the door!

I think I'll just stay here on the mat!

Frosty out – I think I’ll just stay here on the mat!

I hope your week is going very well.



  1. Wow, I am so impressed with the shawl, the intricate design is stunning you are a very talented woman.

  2. Frost in Oxford this morning! Tilly is wise to stay warm.
    I am incredibly impressed by your adventure in cable knitting. It looks just wonderful.

  3. Wow, your Lucy Hague shawl looks fantastic. It’s a wonderful design and I can imagine it’s really not a TV knit 🙂
    Congrats on your 5 years of blogging, that’s impressive!!

  4. Tell Tilly our weather is pulling that stunt week by week. Last night I went with a friend to our group at church (lots of fun and a very inspirational speaker who is a refugee from Afghanistan that the church is sponsoring) and she wore light weight pants and a sleeveless top and I wore a very spring like dress and summer leggings. We did take spring sweaters for the drive home but they weren’t necessary. Today it is light grey – no wind-but cooler. Tomorrow rain with thunder storms but warmer than today. By Sunday it will be cold again with frost and and a very cold Palm Sunday. Do you all get your palms outside and process into the church, singing? Led by the cross, choir and clergy, we do. If the weather is beautiful we might walk all around the church outside. sining “All Glory, Laud and Honor.” Some years we just walk around the inside of the church.

    Love your knitting – I am wondering if I’ll get around to that in this lifetime.


  5. Beautiful -looks very intricate. Tilly still lovely too.

  6. I too will say “Wow”, that’s an impressive knit shawl. The pattern is amazing and I love the colors of the yarn. Tilly is the cutest little cat…how adorable that she’s right there watching everything you do. It’ll send you some warm weather starting tomorrow as our temps are suppose to climb into the 90’s 😦
    Have a wonderful day.

  7. Christine, your Taliesin is absolutely gorgeous. The scarf looks so cozy. And congratulations on your blog’s fifth anniversary!

  8. Congratulations on five years of blogging! Love your blog and am so glad that we met online (and then in person!).

    Wow that shawl is amazing!!!!! I can imagine the complications of knitting that! Not sure I could attempt that around here unless I went on a monastic retreat! 🙂 It is so beautiful though and I’m sure the recipient will love it!

  9. Thank you everyone! The talent is in the designing, far more than in the execution, believe me.

    Linda De Mars – sleeveless shirt? Do you live in the UK?! I’m not too sure what my new church does on Palm Sunday, as I was on the Isle of Harris last year. I doubt very much that the service will involve any outdoor activity, given the many elderly people, and also the weather forecast is for gale-force winds and rain. At most Church of Scotland churches, crosses made of palm leaves are given out on Palm Sunday.

    Lilly’s Mom – I am so acclimatised to Scottish weather that I begin to pass out from heat prostration in weather over about 80 degrees!

    Heather – exactly so, Taliesin is like a mini-monastic retreat. Perhaps in a few years you could do a project like that: so complicated that everyone would tiptoe around you and whisper, and get meals by themselves while you knit.

  10. When I see your knitting and the instructions you use to do it I feel as if we’re not inhabiting the same planet. How you make sense of any of that is a mystery to me but you’ve done a beautiful job, the shawl is amazing and a wonderful gift.

  11. What a fantastic shawl, and happy 5th blog birthday!

  12. Your knitting is gorgeous and that shawl is stunning. What a lovely finished object for your 5th anniversary blog post.

    Tilly is clearly not daft and rethinking the idea of a tootle around the garden in this weather.

  13. That’s great! I can not knit. My left hand really, really won’t; work.

  14. Lorna, sakthi, RedSetter and Relyn, Thank you!

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